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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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My husband has the belief that certain foods will cause him

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My husband has the belief that certain foods will cause him neck pain or make him angry days or even weeks after he eats it. No amount of logic will dissuade him and it is driving me nuts. He has been to a chiropractor who x-rayed his neck and told him he had degenerative discs in three spots, however he still believes that chocolate, bananas and strawberries are the culprit. It will go so far as him telling me that bananas he ate last week made him angry with me when we were having an argument. This is infuriating. His list of foods that supposedly make his neck hurt is increasing and I'm afraid it will get to the point where he will refuse most foods because of this irrational fear. Does this sound like a symptom of OCD?
Hi
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear about your husband's situation.
Let me ask you a few questions first.
When did this start?
How old is he?
Has he ever had depression or anxiety?
Is there a specific question I can assist you with?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
These beliefs started around 3 years ago, the worst of it has started about a year ago.
He is 29 and has been struggling with anxiety at least four years. He is currently on sertraline to assist with his anxiety.
I just don't know what to do and I'm not sure what to ask except if his beliefs can quantify a certain diagnosis.
Hi there,
It sounds like your husband may have Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD - anxiety disorder) or delusional disorder.
I suspect that he has OCD based on your report.
Let me explain: OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). You feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings, though you may realize your thoughts are unreasonable.
OCD centers around themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs.
It's common for people with OCD to fixate on things or topics and also gets addicted to drugs or alcohol.

I would advise your husband to see his primary care doctor to discuss his obsessions. His doctor may refer him to a psychiatrist for medication consultation and a psychologist for psychotherapy (for OCD management).
I think your husband may accept your request of seeing his doctor first. You may not deny his beliefs as he may believe them.
But, you may tell him that he may have anxiety disorder such as OCD as he may be restless and spends long hours thinking of the foods that may cause his neck pain.

Also, relaxation and Stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, Acupuncture, Nutrition and Guided imagery may help him to reduce anxiety symptoms like obsessions and restlessness.

If he is open to psychotherapy, I would advise him to work with a psychologist WEEKLY for 3- 6 months or longer.
Medication and psychotherapy are effective for OCD.

He may benefit from having a Cognitive-Behavior therapy (CBT) for his anxiety disorder/OCD.
You can call his insurance company and get a list of providers in your area.
Or, you can search a licensed psychologist on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to (http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/ppc/prof_search.php?iorb=4764) and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty such as OCD. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-Behavior therapy (CBT).
You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that you want to work with – Male or female? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So, he can see it as an informational meeting. He can ask any question.

Please let me know if you have more questions after getting this answer. All the best,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
How should I respond to his statements, such as, "I can't eat this food because it will make my neck hurt" or "bananas make me violent (even though he has never been violent)?
Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
You may tell him that anxiety and OCD may make him feel this way.
You may advise him to consult with his primary care doctor to confirm what foods he can eat as he has neck pain.
His primary care doctor may tell him what to eat for his neck pain and refer him to a psychiatrist for assessment.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX do that.
Hi there

Good.

Let me know how things go.

All the best,

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